Cooper Hewitt says...
Mariska Karasz emigrated from Budapest, Hungary to New York City in 1914, to join her mother and sister, designer Illonka Karasz. Already skilled in embroidery, sewing, and crochet, she decided to dedicate herself to work in textiles and fashion. She enrolled in the Cooper Union School of Art, where she studied fashion design under Ethel Traphagen. She also participated in M.D.C. Crawford’s textile design competitions, sponsored by Women’s Wear magazine, and was among the prizewinners in 1918.
By the 1920s, Karasz was designing custom clothing for women, which combined elements of Hungarian folk embroidery and modern American style. In the 1930s, after her marriage and the birth of her two daughters, she turned her energies to designing children’s clothes. She created custom pieces for the children of her well-to-do clients, but also designed (anonymously) for some ready-to-wear brands. Her whimsical designs, made in durable fabrics and with “self-help” closures that allowed children to dress themselves, received favorable notice in the fashion press as well as from child psychologists.
After a devastating studio fire in 1941, Karasz re-invented herself yet again, publishing a number of successful books on design, sewing, and embroidery. She also began creating art embroideries, which were exhibited in museums and galleries across the country. Between 1947 and her death in 1960, she had over sixty solo exhibitions, in venues such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the DeYoung Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.